CSE 2009: Second BGCE Student Prize in CSE Awarded in Miami

May 18, 2009

Prize committee members Uli R�de (far left) and Hans-Joachim Bungartz (far right), with 2009 BGCE prize finalists, from left: first-prize recipient Gisela Widmer (ETH Z�rich), Min Zhou (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Eran Treister (Technion), Mike Nicolai (RWTH Aachen), Christoph Mack (CNRS�Ecole Polytechnique), Toni Lassila (EPFL Lausanne), Julianne Chung (Emory University), and second-prize recipient Chad Lieberman (MIT).

Following a successful debut two years ago, the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering once again hosted a student paper competition sponsored by the Bavarian Graduate School in Computational Engineering (BGCE). Open to both undergraduate and graduate students, the competition aims to promote excellence by recognizing outstanding student work in CSE. Indeed, this year's presentations, given in Miami in two minisymposia, were uniformly excellent.

Fourteen students from seven countries entered the competition. Based on four-page papers describing the students' work, the prize committee invited eight finalists (from five countries) to present their papers at the conference:

Julianne Chung, Emory University: Numer-ical Algorithms for Polyenergetic Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Reconstruction

Toni Lassila, EPFL Lausanne: How to Get in Better Shape (Mathematically)

Chad Lieberman, MIT: Parameter and State Model Reduction for Uncertainty Quantification in Large-Scale Statistical Inverse Problems

Christoph Mack, CNRS�Ecole Polytechnique: Global Hydrodynamic Stability Analysis of Large-Scale Compressible Flows Using Krylov Techniques

Mike Nicolai, RWTH Aachen: Towards Shape Optimization for Fluids Involving Complex Shape Parameterization

Eran Treister, Technion: Square and Stretch Multigrid for Stochastic Matrix Eigenproblems

Gisela Widmer, ETH Z�rich: Adaptive Sparse Finite Elements for Radiative Transfer

Min Zhou, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Local Partition Modification for Improved Parallel Finite Element Computations

The student talks, as always amongst the best of the conference, touched on many of the central issues of research in CSE. Addressing important problems from such application areas as medical imaging and low-temperature physics, the students highlighted the mathematical principles that lead to effective and efficient computational tools. Moreover, as a group the finalists did an excellent job in giving clear, well-organized presentations that left the judges with a very difficult task.

The international prize committee (Esmond Ng, Peter Turner, Carol Woodward, Kirk Jordan, Padma Raghavan, Scott MacLachlan, Hans Petter Langtangen, Hans Bungartz, and Uli R�de) ranked the students on both the technical merit of their work and the quality of their presentations (written and oral). The uniform excellence mentioned earlier, however, was apparent in the statistically insignificant difference between the average scores of all the finalists. On behalf of the prize committee, we congratulate all the finalists on their impressive performances.

After a difficult deliberation, the committee agreed to award the prize to Gisela Widmer of ETH Z�rich. Her work reflects the path of much research in CSE: Motivated by the real-life problem of modeling energy transport in plasma arcs, she has developed an accurate and efficient computational technique based on a sparse tensor-product discretization and preconditioned Krylov method solver. Because of the high quality of the presentations, the committee decided to deviate from the original plan and award a second prize, to Chad Lieberman of MIT.

The prize (for both Widmer and Lieberman) is a one-week visit as the guest of the competition's sponsor, the Bavarian Graduate School in Computational Engineering. BGCE is a consortium of two Bavarian universities, Technische Universit�t M�nchen and Universit�t Erlangen�N�rnberg, which offer a joint International Master Program with an Honors Track for their best students in computational engineering.---Uli R�de, Universit�t Erlangen�N�rnberg, and Scott MacLachlan, Tufts University.

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